R&R in Gatineau
Gatineau Quebec – I don’t know about you, but after 11 years of marriage, 14 together as a couple, the good ol’ dinner and a movie to celebrate our anniversary, year after year, gets a bit mundane.
This year, when looking at possibilities, I decided I would plan something special, something that would help us unplug and get back to the two of us.
When I lived in Montreal, I used to go to “Ovarium Bains Flottants” to reconnect with myself. In the shape of an egg, this huge enclosed bath tub filled with salt water that acts as a flotation tank is meant to mimic the feelings of being in a womb. The result is a truly enlightening experience that allows you to relax to a deeper level, a level I have never experienced anywhere else.
It seemed like a nice thought at first but because it is more of an individual experience and because a night away in Montreal, with hotel ($100), dinner ($50-100), flotation bath and massage ($280 for a couple of hours) came with somewhat of a steep price, I kept looking. And thinking.
A friend of mine happens to be a fervent patron at “Nordik Spa-Nature“. His countless posts on Facebook about his almost-weekly visits piqued my curiosity. So I investigated.
Located roughly an hour and twenty minutes from Cornwall, the spa is the perfect venue for a one day getaway or an overnight stay. It is also situated 5 minutes away from the Casino Lac-Leamy, which is always fun to visit.
One can easily spend 4-8 hours at the Nordik Spa-Nature, making it a complete day of relaxation and the best value for your money. I found a great package online which included a night at the Ramada Plaza Manoir du Casino, breakfast, access to the spa ( 7 outdoor baths (hot, cold and temperate), 8 different saunas, infinity pool, restaurant and lounge. ) and bath robe rentals. We chose the Ramada because of its proximity to the casino, but the same deal is available for 12-14 venues catering to all preferences in accommodations, including hotels, bed and breakfasts and inns. More extensive bundles that include massages or dinner are also available. Our cost was $280.
In addition to the several baths and saunas, Nordik Spa-Nature offers their own take on flotation tubs. The Källa treatment, rather than being an enclosed device, is a large salt water pool dug 5 meters deep into the rock, filled with water saturated to 12% of Epsom salt, achieving the same results as the ovum, but in an open space. As I selected a deal that didn’t include the Källa treatment, I didn’t get to try it this time around, but it will definitely be on the menu the next time I visit. Overnight packages including this option start at around $343.
Of all the baths and saunas available to us, my favourite was the Banyä, a Russian Sauna featuring an exfoliation area that will leave you totally cleansed.
After our escapade, refreshed, relaxed and ready to win, we drove to the casino for dinner and entertainment. Being a Saturday Night, this place was happening but wait times were still decent. Of the many options available, we opted for Banco Bistro, an affordable à la carte eatery that also offers buffet options from Friday to Sunday. The food was decent, the prices were reasonable.
After dinner, we tried our luck at slots and cards while watching a live band full of energy that got everyone bopping. Full and tired, we returned to our digs.
The Ramada Plaza Manoir du Casino was the perfect hotel. Each room spells romance and features an electric fireplace and a jetted tub big enough for two. Our room had two double beds and had me leaving the place wanting to hide the mattress in my suitcase. I have slept in oh-so-many beds away from home during the course of my life and I can honestly say that I have had the most restful night of my entire existence–I’m not even exaggerating– at that Ramada. It was like sleeping on a cloud!
The hotel also featured a pool, a sauna, a hot tub and a decent exercise room for those wanting to extend on an already relaxing getaway. Breakfast offered a decent variety of hot and cold items, self-served style. My only grievance is that the coffee, the only item not self-served, took a long time to be served.
We were limited in time, but the week-end could have included a massage–a full spa is on location at the hotel–or a romantic walk through the eclectic shops at the Byward Market, which is only 10 minutes away by car.
Sparking romance doesn’t have to be pricey or complicated. It can be as simple as spending a day together an hour away from home.